Seventh-seeded Cyril Saulnier advanced to his sixth ATP quarterfinal this season with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-2) victory yesterday over Gilles Elseneer in the Legg Mason Tennis Classic at the William H.G. FitzGerald Tennis Center.
The 29-year-old Frenchman, who celebrated his birthday on Monday, entered the tournament on a hot streak. Saulnier advanced to the semifinals at tournaments in Los Angeles and Newport, R.I., last month, and reached the quarterfinals in Adelaide, Sydney and San Jose earlier this year.
Saulnier attributes his recent success to a much-improved mental focus coupled with strong groundstrokes and serves.
"In the past, my mental work was not as strong," he said. "Now, my game and fitness are at the same point. My mental focus has been strong over the past two years, and that's why I'm seeing the results this summer."
Servicemen Get Their Due
Sgt. Michael Cain, who tossed the coin prior to the start of the match between Lleyton Hewitt and Alejandro Falla, was among 130 servicemen and women honored for their service in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda Naval Hospital recuperating from injuries suffered during their tours.
Andre Agassi addressed the service personnel during a reception on the grounds of the tournament. For nearly 30 minutes, he was peppered with questions, such as when will he retire, whether the child featured in a recent television commercial with him and his wife, Steffi Graf, is their son (it is not) and how it feels to represent his country in Davis Cup play. "That is just a minuscule of what you have done for this country. I have tremendous admiration for the work that you have done. If a tennis racket ever comes in handy out there, I'll be happy to help," Agassi joked to roaring applause.
CBS to Televise Final
For the first time in the 36-year history of the tournament, the singles championship final will be aired live on major network television. CBS will carry the match on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.